If you are looking to boost physical and mental health, cardio exercise offers several benefits.
Cardio is a short form used for cardiovascular exercises. It is a heart-related term.
The heart is an important organ in human beings. To keep it a good condition, exercise is a great thing.
Cardio exercises help in strengthening the heart. These exercises raise the heart rate from normal.
In essence, any exercise that increases the heart rate is a cardio workout.
In this post, we’ll discuss the health benefits of doing a cardio exercise.
Let’s dive in!
What are the benefits of cardio exercises?
1. Promotes heart health
The first benefit of cardio exercises is that it helps improve heart condition.
Exercise can help in strengthening the heart muscle, just like any other muscle in the body.
Cardio exercise helps in pumping and circulating blood more effortlessly in the body.
This free flow of blood helps to keep cholesterol and blood pressure normal.
This, in turn, prevents heart diseases like cardiac arrest, heart attack, and others.
Cardiovascular exercises ensure good heart health that leads to a long and healthy life.
If you want a healthy heart, plan at least forty minutes of cardio exercise 2 to 3 times every week.
2. Promotes lung health
Another great advantage of cardio workouts is their impact on lung health.
When we do any cardio exercise, we improve our breathing cycle.
In general, our breathing cycles involve short and fast inhalation when we speak.
Exhalation is slow so it syncs with our speech. The cycle lasts for about half a second on average.
But cardio exercises rev its cycle up. And that’s a good thing.
The increased cycle improves the condition of the lungs. And helps to finetune our respiratory system.
Cardio exercises not only aid in keeping the lungs in better form. But it also helps in increasing the strength of performing exercises.
3. Promotes weight loss
One of the benefits of cardio exercise is related to weight loss.
Maintaining your ideal weight as you grow older is challenging. This is in part because of low metabolism.
But here’s the good news:
Cardio exercises help in regulating body weight and keep the body in form.
Cardio workouts increase your metabolic rate. This is the rate at which you’re able to convert food to energy faster.
Take a great cardio workout like jogging for example.
In one study, researchers looked into how factors impact weight gain or obesity. They enrolled nearly 20,000 adult participants.
The results suggest that joggers or runners are more likely to lose weight over six years.
In another study, researchers reported something fascinating.
It turns out that doing cardio reduced weight more than the ones doing other exercises and diet.
Further reading: Should You Do Cardio or Lift Weights for Weight Loss?
4. Improves sleeping patterns
Most people nowadays complain about insomnia.
Another benefit of cardio workouts and exercise is that it helps you to sleep better.
In general, exercises whether morning exercises or afternoon exercises can help you sleep better at night.
One precaution though.
Make sure you don’t exercise right before bedtime.
This will make you more alert and will not help you relax before sleep. It’ll increase the chances of sleeplessness.
Research shows that people who had sleep issues and started working out have successfully got rid of insomnia.
Simple bedtime stretches can help you wind down at night.
5. Lowers blood pressure
Cardiovascular exercise helps in having a heart with better performance.
Cardio exercise keeps the heart away from many diseases like blood pressure.
Unhindered and free-flowing blood decreases the chances of getting blood pressure.
One research suggests that when you do cardio exercises 3 to 4 times a week, you can lower blood pressure significantly.
6. Lowers stress and depression
One of the benefits of cardio exercises is that it improves mood. It makes you feel happy and content.
This is in part due to the feeling of being fit and healthy. But that’s not all.
It’s also because when you do cardio exercises, the brain produces feel-good chemicals.
This signals the brain to make a person feel happy and satisfied.
Moreover, exercise helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
In a study, researchers asked depressed individuals to walk on a treadmill for a week. After a week, they reported a major reduction in depression.
Recent studies proved exercise to be more effective for reducing depression than any therapy.
How much cardio should you do per week?
So there are limitations in performing cardio. Too much of everything is not good. And yes, there’s a thing like exercising too much.
If you do a low-intensity type of cardio (like brisk walking), you can exercise 5 days a week for half an hour.
But if you do high-intensity workouts, consider exercising for about 3 days a week.
How much cardio is too much?
Too much of everything can hurt you, even if that thing is good.
If you do cardiovascular exercises every day, you risk fatigue and poor recovery. This is not good for health.
Not resting can have the opposite effect of adding more body fat.
What happens if you do too much cardio?
Doing too much cardio, without proper rest, recovery, or diet has negative health effects.
These effects include:
- Extreme fatigue or tiredness
- Increased body fat
- Risk of joint injury
- Difficulty to fall asleep faster at night
- Nagging body pain
- Poor concentration
As we discussed, take the precaution to not overdo cardio exercises.
A few rest days will help. It’ll give your muscles and joints enough time to repair themselves. And remember to eat well especially more vegetables.
There are no shortcuts to a healthy life.
Yes, cardio exercise has many health benefits that can help. But take it slowly.
Some studies even suggest that slow jogging, in the long run, is more useful than fast jogging.